Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County in cases of Charles Teslovich and Delores Teslovich, his wife v. Lizzie Johnson, a/k/a Elizabeth Johnson, James W. Johnson, Amos A. Shroyer, Ida R. Shroyer, Garfield Shroyer and Rosetta Alverda Shroyer, and their heirs and assigns generally, No. 499 March Term, 1974, and Charles Teslovich and Delores Teslovich, his wife v. Amos A. Shroyer, Ida R. Shroyer, Garfield Shroyer and Rosetta Alverda Shroyer, and their heirs and assigns generally, No. 500 March Term, 1974.
Vincent J. Roskovensky, II, with him William B. Parshall, for appellant.
William M. Radcliffe, with him Ralph K. Barclay, Jr., and Coldren & Coldren, for appellees.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 450]
The Appellant, Rosetta Shroyer, appeals here from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County which upheld a tax sale of property owned by herself and her husband to the Appellees, Charles and Delores Teslovich. She attacks the validity of the sale because of an alleged insufficiency of notice under the Real Estate Tax Sale Law*fn1 (Act).
[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 451]
The record indicates that the Appellant and her husband, Garfield Shroyer, had acquired ownership to the property as tenants by the entireties. Later apparently because of marital difficulties, they separated. Almost two years thereafter, she went to the Fayette County Tax Claim Bureau (Bureau) to make payment on the delinquent taxes owed on the property and she then advised the Bureau of her change of address from Mill Run, Pa. to Melcroft, Pa. Although she alleged that she also informed the Bureau at that time of her marital separation, the Director of the Bureau denied receiving any such notice at any time. About a year later, in March of 1971, she mailed an additional payment for delinquent taxes to the Bureau and subsequently received a partial refund for overpayment. The Bureau, however, evidently applied the payment to another property which she owned and not to the delinquent taxes owed on the property concerned here. At any rate, during that same year, the tax delinquency remained and a notice of a tax sale of this property was sent to "Garfield and Rosetta Shroyer, Melcroft, Pennsylvania, Return Receipt Requested, Deliver to Personal Addressee Only." For some unknown reason, this letter was forwarded by the Melcroft, Pa. post office to Garfield Shroyer at Mill Run, Pa. and the return receipt was signed by him from that address. The Appellant, however, did not personally receive notice of the sale. The lower court held that the notice requirements of the Act were met by the mailing of a single letter addressed to the husband and wife owners at the new address given by the Appellant to the Bureau. The Appellant argues here that separate notices to the husband and to the wife must be sent when there is a tax sale of property held by a husband and wife as tenants by the entireties whenever it is known to the Bureau that the husband and wife are living apart, as was the case here.
[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 452]
The applicable notice requirement regarding tax sales is found in Section 602 of the Act which provides as follows:
In addition to such publications, similar notice of the sale shall also be given by the bureau, at least ten (10) days before the date of the sale, by United States certified mail, personal addressee only, return receipt requested, postage prepaid, to each owner as defined by this act. . . .
No sale shall be defeated and no title to property sold shall be invalidated because of proof that mail notice as herein required was not received by the owner, provided such notice was given ...